Thursday, February 24, 2005

The Myth of the Family-Friendly Church

Most churches claim to be pro-family. And yet we split families up into distinct age groups at every opportunity -- rarely (if ever) providing any kind of intergenerational environment. We over-program parents -- often giving them the impression that if they were serious about their faith they would be out of the home at least two or three nights a week doing "church" stuff. We discourage young people from acting like full members of the faith community -- often even fostering a rebellious attitude towards those who are older than they are. We hire children's ministers and student ministers but not parents' ministers. We minister to parents as adults, but rarely do we minister to adults as parents. We may give lip-service to "family ministry" and teach an annual series on the family (usually on the Sundays between Mother's Day and Fathers' Day) but -- on the whole -- fostering healthy families where parents take responsibility for raising their children is not something we seem to take very seriously.

I'm asking you: Is your church really pro-family?